Calgary Dry Eye Clinic: 5 Reasons Why Calgary's Climate Contributes to Dry Eyes

May 30, 2024
Calgary Dry Eye Clinic: 5 Reasons Why Calgary's Climate Contributes to Dry Eyes

Calgary's climate significantly contributes to dry eyes due to factors like low humidity levels, frequent Chinook winds, high altitude, and cold, windy winters. The dry air, both indoors and outdoors, accelerates tear evaporation, leading to eye discomfort. Rapid weather changes from Chinooks and Calgary's high elevation further exacerbate the problem. Additionally, the cold, windy conditions and increased screen time during long winters can worsen dry eye symptoms. Understanding these challenges helps in taking proactive steps to protect eye health. My Optometrist Calgary offers personalized advice and treatments to manage dry eyes effectively, ensuring optimal eye health amidst Calgary's demanding climate. Regular eye exams and proactive care are essential for maintaining eye comfort in this environment - book an appointment today!

Living in Calgary comes with its unique set of benefits and challenges. From the breathtaking Rocky Mountain views to the vibrant urban life, it's a city that offers much to its residents. However, one aspect of Calgary living that many might not consider is the impact of the local climate on eye health. Dry eyes are a common complaint among Calgarians, and understanding the reasons behind this can help in managing and preventing discomfort. Here, we'll explore five reasons why Calgary's climate contributes to dry eyes and provide insights into how to protect your vision in this beautiful but challenging environment.

1. Low Humidity Levels

Calgary is known for its low humidity levels, especially during the winter months. The cold air outside and the heated air inside both tend to be very dry. This lack of moisture in the air can lead to quicker evaporation of the tear film that protects your eyes, resulting in dry eyes. Without sufficient humidity, your eyes struggle to maintain the moisture needed to keep them comfortable and healthy.

Dry indoor heating can exacerbate the problem. When the temperature drops, we often turn up the heat, which further reduces the humidity levels indoors. This double whammy of dry outdoor and indoor air can leave your eyes feeling gritty, irritated, and uncomfortable.

2. Frequent Chinooks

Calgary's unique weather phenomenon, the Chinook winds, also plays a significant role in dry eye symptoms. These warm, dry winds can lead to a sudden drop in humidity levels, making the air even drier. The rapid change in weather conditions can make it difficult for your eyes to adapt, causing them to become dry and irritated.

Chinooks can cause rapid temperature fluctuations, sometimes changing by as much as 20 degrees Celsius in a matter of hours. This swift change can exacerbate dryness and discomfort in your eyes, making it essential to take extra precautions during these periods.

3. High Altitude

Calgary's elevation, at approximately 1,045 meters (3,428 feet) above sea level, means the air is thinner and contains less oxygen. Higher altitudes also result in lower humidity levels, which can increase the rate at which tears evaporate from the surface of your eyes. This combination of factors makes it harder for your eyes to stay hydrated.

At higher altitudes, the body's natural tear production can decrease, leading to chronic dry eye issues for some individuals. This makes it particularly important for Calgary residents to stay vigilant about eye care and hydration.

4. Cold and Windy Winters

Calgary's winters are notorious for being cold and windy. The wind can strip away the moisture from your eyes, leading to increased evaporation of the tear film. Additionally, cold air holds less moisture, which can contribute to dryness.

Windy conditions can blow particles and debris into your eyes, further irritating them and exacerbating dry eye symptoms. Wearing protective eyewear, such as wraparound sunglasses, can help shield your eyes from the harsh winter elements.

5. Increased Screen Time

While not directly related to the climate, increased screen time is a significant factor contributing to dry eyes in Calgary. During the long winter months, many people tend to spend more time indoors, often in front of screens. Prolonged screen use can reduce blinking rates, leading to faster evaporation of the tear film and dry eyes.

Blinking helps spread tears evenly across the surface of your eyes, keeping them moist. When you focus on a screen for extended periods, you blink less frequently, which can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated. Practicing the 20-20-20 rule—taking a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes—can help mitigate this effect.

Calgary's unique climate presents several challenges for maintaining eye health. Low humidity levels, frequent Chinooks, high altitude, cold and windy winters, and increased screen time all contribute to the prevalence of dry eyes in the city. Understanding these factors can help you take proactive steps to protect your eyes and maintain their comfort.

At My Optometrist Calgary, we're here to help you navigate these challenges - call us for personalized advice and effective treatments. Whether it's recommending the best eye drops for your needs or providing advanced treatment options, we're committed to helping you achieve optimal eye health. Remember, regular eye exams and proactive care are key to keeping your eyes comfortable and healthy in Calgary's demanding climate. Book your appointment with us today!


Q: What causes dry eyes in Calgary?
A: Dry eyes in Calgary are mainly caused by low humidity levels, frequent Chinook winds, high altitude, cold and windy winters, and increased screen time during the long winter months.

Q: What are some home remedies for managing dry eyes in Calgary?
A: Home remedies include using a humidifier, staying hydrated, practicing the 20-20-20 rule for screen use, and using protective eyewear in windy conditions.

Q: What professional treatments are available for dry eyes in Calgary?
A: Professional treatments include prescription eye drops, punctal plugs to reduce tear drainage, and specialized therapies offered by optometrists. Call us for more information or book an appointment.

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